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(BEFORE I DIE) BY DOWNHAM, JENNY[ AUTHOR ]Paperback 10-2008 [Unknown Binding]

4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)

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  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B0092FQHJW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,037,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
111 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish List 11 Sep 2007
By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER
An intense story narrated by Tessa, who is 16 and has only a few months left to live. She has a list of `to do before I die' wishes and is working her way through them, number one on the list is to have sex. Along the way the reader hears about Tessa's observations on life, how she faces what fate has dealt her with grace but also with rebelliousness and anger. She thinks about what it will be like for her family once she is dead and whether she will be able to haunt them. We also learn what her family think, and how they are trying to come to terms with the knowledge that they are going to lose their daughter.

This book could have been unbearably painful to read, but Downham has allowed Tessa to retain a sense of humour about her situation, along with meeting her first (and only) true love. I admit to having been moved to tears a few times, especially when she has some special moments with her younger brother.

I found this to be an incredibly moving read, while at the same time it retains a sense of dignity and humour. Downham writes beautifully and her words just flow over the pages. This was a page-turner for me and I highly recommend it.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before I Cry... 3 Nov 2007
By Luanne
I bought this book not realising it was aimed at the teenage market, but I thought I would read it anyway. And I am so glad I did, because this is a book for everyone, regardless of age. It is the story of Tessa, 16 years old and dying of cancer. Tessa seems bolshy and defiant on the surface but, as you read on, you peel away the layers and find a mass of compicated emotions so powerful they grab you by the heart and tug very very painfully.

The writing is economical, simple to read. I read the book in two days. On the first day I felt mainly anger at Tessa's seemingly uncaring, selfish best friend ("It's always got to be about you!") and Tessa's flighty mother who is never there for her. On the second day I felt so many emotions I cannot possibly begin to write them down. The last twenty pages or so of the book were read through a veil of tears.

It is not, however, a sentimental read. Tessa is spirited and her humour shines through, but the raw emotion towards the end can make the book a difficult read, though I guarantee you will not be able to put it down. Even after you have finished, you will likely read the last few pages again.

I urge everyone to read this book. It is raw and true, terribly sad and yet life-affirming, too. A marvellous achievement. Just thinking about it makes me feel like crying.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heart rending 20 Feb 2008
How I felt for Tessa and her urge to scramble as much into a few months as most of us would experience over many years. A book that could be so maudlin was exceptionally uplifting and even those who have never experienced the journey down this darkened path found insights into our own lives. When I was diagnosed with cancer as a middle aged adult how I experienced the panic of wanting to see my children happy and settled and not needing me - at least not too much. Tessa and her family touched my heart. Every time I speak to my daughter I find myself saying have you started that book yet. Thank you Jenny Downham for this wonderful read.
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83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have read 3 July 2007
This is an amazing book - I laughed, cried, it made me feel as though I'd lost a best friend by the end. But it isn't depressing - in fact it's a book about death that made me feel exhilarated at the end - amazing. It reminded me in some way of THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold - dealing with loss, death, love in the most incredible way. And when I remember what being a teenager was like I think the author has just put her finger on the extremes of feeling you have - let alone under such a life sentence. If there is any book you must read, this is the one! It certainly isn't just for teenagers - it's for everyone. Unforgettable.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Touching 1 Dec 2007
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
Tessa is 16 and dying of cancer. She knows that she has only months to live and she creates a list of things she wants to experience before she dies: having sex, trying drugs and falling in love being just three of them. This is not your usual teen lit fare. It is a very moving book that feels like a realistic account of a teenager struggling to come to terms with the fact that her life will be over almost before it's begun. Sometimes Tessa is self-pitying, angry or apathetic - but she is also real and brave and you care about her.

This is a quick book to read - it took me a day. It's fairly predictable and aside from Tessa, the characters are pretty sketchy. However its simplicity also makes it feels more genuine, as if it really was penned by a 16 year old. It makes you think about and appreciate your own friends, your family - your very life.

Despite the subject matter it doesn't endorse casual sex (indeed, the potential consequences are very clear!) nor drug use. I wouldn't hesitate to give it to a teenager to read, although I would probably hand over a large box of tissues along with it. It's the kind of book that touches your heart.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 25 Sep 2007
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
I devoured this book in two days. It called to me. Beckoned me across the room and begged me to pick it up and finish what I'd started. If I hadn't needed to eat and sleep, I'd have finished it in mere hours. It was that vital to keep going.

Tessa Scott keeps going, too. She keeps writing on the wall and adding to the list of things she wants to do before she dies. Tess's life is being driven from her by leukemia before she herself can even drive a car. It's not fair. She wants a boyfriend. She wants normal.

Tessa pushes. She pushes against the people who want to be near her. She pushes against the rules she's been forced to follow throughout her brief life. She pushes against death.

She keeps breathing. In and out. It's simple. Except, it's not that simple.

This book gives a promise. This book keeps its promise. This book is real. It is deep and winding and important. It is beautiful and strong and eloquent and everlasting. It is just beautiful.

Reviewed by: Julie M. Prince
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Before i die.
Before i die, is a sad story, about a young girl who has lived with cancer for quite a while now. But it got worse, so she decides to make a list of things to do before she passes. Read more
Published 1 day ago by crazygirl99
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, Moving - Beautiful Reading
I always said that there must be better books out there than The Fault in Our Stars by John Green when tackling teenage cancer in a novel. And there was. I have just read it. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Did not think i would enjoy, but i did. Read it its awsome. I would recommend it to older teens
Published 26 days ago by fun game to play
5.0 out of 5 stars superb
An beautifully written novel on the process of dying. Tess, a 15 year old with terminal cancer shares a joyous but ultimately sad journey and, with her bucket list, lives her final... Read more
Published 29 days ago by L. Moriarty
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A well written and thoughtful story..and yes I shed a tear or two. Definitely not just for teens.
Published 1 month ago by Amanda, Small Isle, Scotland
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read.
this has to be one of my all time favourite books.
Published 1 month ago by Liviii
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
This book is amazballs everyone in the universe should read this crazy book..... it's literally the world's best thing and I have no more words lol just don't cry and man up you... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amelia
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad
Took me a while to connect with this one but when I did it was well worth the wait. Last few chapters very well written and very powerful. Made me cry...
Published 1 month ago by Joberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart-breaking but heart-warming
I nearly let a few tears slip but the overall storyline is so inspirational. A great read and I recommend it to anyone that wants a book you can't put down.
Published 1 month ago by victoria cadman
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed every page
Great book truly amazing in my opinion it is better than tfios because it is so in touch with the real world a really good book for a teenager with a mature perspective
Published 1 month ago by Lois carter
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